Helping People to Pay Attention, Understand and Stop
Family and Relationship Conflict
We offer workshops, seminars, programs and counselling services in a safe, professional and non-judgemental way;
always striving to achieve our very best as individuals and as an organisation.
always striving to achieve our very best as individuals and as an organisation.
The Blue Wren Foundation - How we got started
Oftentimes it is good to start at the beginning so that people understand the foundation on which everything stands. In the case of The Blue Wren Foundation, there is certainly a good story to tell ...
On Sunday 11th October 2015, Adrian was talking with his wife Arleen about Domestic Violence and Rosie Batty’s book – A Mother’s Story - a book about her journey with DV and the build-up and final death of her son at the hands of his father … With tears flowing down her face Arleen said to me – ‘Please Adrian, for me, and all the women out there, take the DV Prevention work that you have been creating and talking about for some time, out into the world.’ In that moment he promised her that he would. He made a commitment to do it. So now he is committed to doing it – and with your support it will get done. The following day, he was talking with a client via Skype. The client, David, was out in his garden at the time and whilst talking to Adrian had a small flock of Blue Wrens come near to him. He told Adrian the story of how Blue Wrens are very protective. Later that day it became clear to Adrian to name and start The Blue Wren Foundation.
The Blue Wren Symbol - and what it represents
The Blue Wren is a small bird that generally lives in a flock with two adult male and female birds as the flock ‘leaders’, along with as many as a dozen other birds with them. All the birds assist in defending the territory and feeding and rearing the young, however it is the dominant male that can most generally be seen standing out and standing up against other larger birds that may enter their territory and threaten the flock. That is partly why the Blue Wren symbol has been chosen. It is to symbolize and express that men can learn to be bold and courageous and stand up to protect others without having to be big, hard or violent. It can remind us that, as men, we can all stand up and stand our ground when it is required of us.
What do we do, and what is our social, political and philosophical standpoint?
This is quite a complex thing to answer in a couple of paragraphs and as we develop and grow these may expand or even change to some degree. However, our current focus and work, and our social, political and philosophical standpoints can be read below.
Our Focus right now
We predominantly offer support for men. On saying this, we also offer support for women too, with counselling and through our referral network.
We offer support on both sides of the equation for men when it comes to relationship or family conflict or violence. Our work is focused on supporting and empowering any man that feels that he is not feeling supported or empowered to make some positive changes in his relationship or life.
1. We work with men who have been asked or challenged, or know for themselves, that it is time to make some changes about their attitudes, feelings, emotions, actions or behaviours. This is our core work and work that we do well.
2. We also offer services to men who have been, or are being, violated against in some way in their relationship. That could be by a female or same sex partner.
Our view and standpoint
By focusing and working more directly with men, does not mean that we are a one sided, or one gender stanced organisation. It means that this is our focus. We cannot cover all areas of this expansive topic of relationships and relationship conflict and violence - that is simply not possible - so we focus on what we know we can do well from our collective skills and experiences.
There are many other organisations now filling the gaps in services that have now been identified. Yes, much more needs to be done to bring the equation of male and female support into balance, and yes, there are many statistics and findings that are being used for political and self-interest purposes - but we try to steer clear of this and focus on putting out good services.
We support all organisations, working and bringing positive outcomes in this field, without judgement and try to only focus on the aspects of the work that they do well. We are also clear that at anytime we feel or experience that someone, or some organisation is not in alignment with offering positive services, we certainly do not remain silent - we do speak out!
Our unique and empowering 'Line in the Sand' programs for Men
We offer 'Line in the Sand' programs for men at risk of, or currently engaged in, actions or behaviours that negatively impact on themselves and other people in their lives.
We also have 'Line in the Sand' programs for men who have been, or are currently, impacted by situations of negative relationship actions or behaviours against them.
As men we can learn what this 'Line in the Sand' is, and then use this to gauge our thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, attitudes, actions and behaviours. It gives us a platform; a foundation, from which to work from to help us better understand ourselves. It is a very empowering process and one that we invite, encourage and positively challenge all men to do. For each man to ascertain and choose which LITS program he needs to attend will depend on his situation.
Imagine, for a moment, being clear about where you are with your own 'Line in the Sand'; knowing exactly where you are with your own understanding, thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, attitudes, actions and behaviours in your relationship. Imagine using this to help you to form, and be in, a much more conscious and harmonious relationship with those around you, especially with your partner if you have one. Imagine how those around you will feel, knowing that you have done some good work to support being in a better relationship, and through this work supporting or stopping any current or potential future relationship or family conflict or domestic violence. What an amazing thing to do for yourself, your family and the whole community.
The honour and privilege of being in the company of men willing to ‘step into their stuff’ is an amazing experience. We know that when men find the courage to step into a circle or group with other men, or even if they have been mandated to do so through the legal system, as a 'perpetrator' or attend identifying as a 'victim', something ‘magical’ happens for them. In this space men learn that it is safe to talk, share and even express their feelings and emotions.
Our approach through The Blue Wren Foundation is to get men back into circles – back into spaces where men can open up and talk, share and express their feelings and emotions in a safe environment without being shamed, made to feel guilty or belittled in any way.
Our programs are designed to work with men from all walks of life, and it would seem fitting for men from all 'levels' or 'walks' of life to attend. There is no economic, political, religious or social divide when it comes to this work. The list includes: lawyers, professors, builders, butchers, bakers, electricians, therapists, cleaners, magistrates, police officers, artists, military, politicians, doctors, real estate agents, dentists, miners ... and so on. It includes all men.
Relationship Education for Men, Women and Couples
We offer one on one counselling and guidance for men and women and for couples.
We also have women in our network that we recommend and work with and we also have a gay man who can help gay men.
The Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence (FADV)
With more awareness and education around FADV their is much more emphasis on naming it for what it is. The terms and language in this are now very clear. When people are in a conflict situation, depending on its degree, this might now be classed as family or domestic violence. It is good to be clear on this as it can become a very difficult and challenging road if the police and/or courts get involved. FADV can be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, sexual, psychological, there are many ways for us all to cross the line into some sort of way. This is called abuse; whether that is subtle, not so subtle, conscious or unconscious. Either way, it is something that you/we can choose to change.
At The Blue Wren Foundation, we are trying to create new, more usable terms and phrases that do not weaken or water down the issues of FADV, but create more clarity and support to help get more men on board with this huge topic. We wish to encourage men, not frighten them. We want men to step into this work with a sense of empowerment, trust and support. We are not in any way condoning FADV, we are simply trying to get more men to step in to do some inner work to prevent and stop it!
As men, we are (nearly) all capable of stepping over our own 'Line in the Sand'. In fact, it would probably be true to say, it would be very difficult to find a man who has not stepped over this line in some way in the past. By shaming and blaming other men, when we are probably guilty ourselves of crossing the line in some way ourselves is not very useful and could also be very hypocritical, so we men at the Blue Wren Foundation try to steer away from blaming and shaming. We know from the many years of work that we have done between us, that it take courage to step in and do inner work. It also takes some amount of vulnerability and commitment. This is why we want to support men. We do not want to blame and shame them and keep them in the proverbial cave - we want all men to come out and know that whatever it is that they have done or are doing - they will get supported to change their behaviour in a professional, compassionate, understanding and solid way. As Michael, in a Melbourne program, said: "I know I am a good man - but I want to be a better man". And this is true for most men if we give them the opportunity to step in and look at and explore their own 'Line in the Sand' and then work with it to change it.
The Queensland Not Now Not Ever Report
In the Not Now, Not Ever Family and Domestic Violence Report from Dame Quentin Bryce and her task force (Mr Ian Kaye MP, Ms Anne Cross, CEO, UnitingCare Queensland, Ms Ada Panawya Woolla, Aurukun Local Commissioner, Ms Heather Nancarrow, CEO, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, Mrs Desley Scott MP, Mrs Liz Cunningham MP, Ms Kerry Millard MP) - they identify significant areas that need to be overhauled, receive a change in policy or need to be created and/or implemented.
Some of the content from the Not Now Not Ever report has been used to highlight the links from what the report has outlined and/or recommended and the correlation to what The 'Line in the Sand' Blue Wren Relationship Education Programs for Men will offer. There are many aspects of the report that can certainly be addressed through a process of well delivered programs.
The Task-force's recommendations to bring about cultural and attitudinal change are based on three key aspects – 1 - increasing awareness and reinforcing intolerance of domestic and family violence through education and engagement; 2 - preventing domestic and family violence by building respectful relationships; and 3 - supporting victims/survivors of domestic and family violence by empowering the community to intervene and hold perpetrators to account. The first aspect that this report recommends (increasing awareness and reinforcing intolerance of domestic and family violence through education and engagement) is the major focus for the Blue Wren Foundation. Our professionally facilitated programs will address and deliver, in essence, ways to help men to change their more negative attitudes, thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions towards women to more positive ones.